Wednesday, August 04, 2010

New flower, new spider-hunting wasp

The plant of Himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa)  first recorded in the window box in 2006 is carrying its first flowers.

20100804 Wbx & South View 013

These flowers dangling from red bracts are followed by berries that, by all accounts, are edible so I might be able to harvest my first Wbx crop in a few weeks time.

While photographing this I noticed a small, black spider-hunting wasp sitting on a Wbx tutsan leaf.

20100804 Wbx & South View 021

This is Anoplius nigerrimus, a common species here but one that scarcely ever stays still long enough to get a decent photo.  This one was very obliging and seemed to be taking an unusually long rest on the leaf.  Later though I saw it restlessly hunting for spiders with its usual agitated, questing character.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Different sallows

There are four self-sown sallow willows in the window box, all of which have been there for several years and are coppiced each winter.

They all differ quite markedly in leaf size and shape.

Wbx Sallow leaves 20100802

Top left is, I think, undoubtedly rusty sallow (Salix cinerea ssp. oleifolia), a common and widespread species in Britain, while the large leaf beneath is goat willow (Salix caprea), also common.  The two on the right are probably Salix x reichardtii, hybrids between the first two species, also common.

Detailed accounts of all these species are given in BSBI Handbook No 4, Willows and Poplars of Great Britain and Ireland by R. D. Meikle (1984).